Basically, to make milk powder, you need to remove the water content from the liquid milk and turn it into powder. How to do it? After pasteurizing and homogenizing the milk, milk’s water content is removed through filtration, evaporation, and drying. You have then to cool and sieve it before filling the containers. Here’s how you get milk powder.
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Milk powder processing – From liquid to powder
Milk is 87% water. The idea of turning raw milk from liquid to powder form relies heavily on removing water content from milk. This involves three processes: filtration, evaporation, and drying
In filtration, milk passes through filters that have special membranes that let water pass through. This stage removes about 60 percent of the water content. The filtered milk then goes through the evaporator which heats it to remove an additional 25% water content. And finally, the processed milk goes to the dryer, in which it is injected at high pressure in a chamber with hot air that rapidly removes the remaining moisture. At this point, the fluidized bed dryer cools the milk powder and after sieving it, it goes to a filling machine for packaging.
Powdered milk in other food production and applications
Powdered milk has more applications than you might think; from infant formula to chocolates and other baked goods like sweets and desserts, you can use milk powder as a flavoring or to create a creamy texture in some food recipes. Using it as an ingredient, you can create condensed milk, evaporated milk, coffee creamer, whipped toppings, yoghurts, cottage cheese, pastries, cookies, etc. This solid form of concentrated milk is widely used in homemade applications as well as in the baking industry.
Did you know that it can also be used to create a facial mask and other soothing skin treatments? Scoop a bowl of milk powder and add enough water to make a thick paste. With clean hands, apply the paste to your face. Let it dry, then rinse it off for soft smooth skin. It can also soothe insect bites and other skin irritations.
Storage and shelf life that makes the difference
Milk powder is known to have a longer shelf life than liquid milk. That’s because, for microorganisms to grow, a minimum amount of water in an environment is necessary. Since liquid milk has more water, it will have more microbial growth. During milk powder processing, dehydration processes remove the water content, so powdered milk will have less microbial growth. Actually, if stored properly, milk powder has a shelf life of more than one year.
Choosing cans for packaging infant milk powder
Packaging of milk powder comes in different types of containers. You can choose between pouches or cans depending on the application. For example, infant milk powder is packed in cans.
The cans are mostly filled with nitrogen to minimize the amount of oxygen inside. This helps prolong shelf life as excessive oxygen can deteriorate the quality of milk powder. After filling, the seaming machine uses two layers for sealing. Inner layer completely seals the milk powder by metal foil or lid, and the outer layer is a plastic cover.